AFC North Power Rankings Week One

3 of 5

Aug 24, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals Frostee Rucker tackles Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) during the first half at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

3. Cincinnati Bengals

It’s not that the Bengals are bad, it’s just that the AFC North is tough.  When you play in the same division as teams that seem to compete every single year with the rare off year (off defined as 8-8), life is tough.  And that’s why we are placing the Bengals behind the Steelers and Ravens for now.

The Bengals have improved greatly over the last few seasons, and they have built quite the formidable defense.  Signing Vontaze Burfict to a new deal was a wise move, and the team has a number of dangerous weapons on offense as well. A.J. Green is a top 5 wide receiver in the NFL, and they added powerful rookie Jeremy Hill to pair with impressive sophomore running back Giovanni Bernard.

Our biggest concern for the Bengals is the loss of long time defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, who is now the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings.  Zimmer has been an underrated component of the Bengal’s defensive success for years. We are less concerned about the loss of offensive coordinator Jay Gruden (head coach of the Redskins), as Hue Jackson is a capable replacement.  But losing both coordinators still puts a big question mark on this team for 2014.